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St. Mary’s County farmer juggling dual careers

by | Feb 7, 2020

Syd Moreland owns and operates Indiantown Farm in St. Mary’s County, where he raises black Angus cattle, corn, beans and hay. (Photo courtesy Lena McBean, Remsberg Inc.)

CHAPTICO, Md. — Situated in the Chaptico area of St. Mary’s County, Indiantown Farm sits alongside the Wicomico River in a section where the waterway is about a mile wide, making it a popular spot for water sports, crabbing, fishing and hunting.
For Syd Moreland, it’s simply home and always has been.
“I love getting up, looking at this river, looking at this farm,” Moreland said. “Once you have that, it’s hard to be any place else.”
Moreland’s father purchased the land in 1945 and operated it as a tobacco farm for nearly 50 years before the decline of tobacco in Maryland.
Today, Moreland operates the farm, raising black Angus cattle as well as corn, beans, wheat and hay.
Balancing Costs
“Tobacco was a great money crop,” Moreland said. “You made money. With what we do today, rarely a year goes by that we don’t have to have some type of cash influx.”
To offset the financial instability of operating a farm, Moreland works full-time as a certified public accountant and has two employees who help him manage the cattle and crops.
He also counts on crop insurance to protect the legacy passed down from his father.
“It’s so costly to raise these crops and as you know, in Southern Maryland, there’s not much irrigation so we always have the risk of drought,” Moreland said. “Crop insurance has been a lifesaver from time to time. It’s a big part of what we do.”
Preserving a Way of Life
With two full-time jobs and a large family consisting of seven children and seven grandchildren, Moreland admits life gets pretty busy.
However, the farm remains a focal point for his entire extended family and he couldn’t imagine it any other way.
“Our family is very close and we get together at least a couple of times a year on the farm and just have a ball,” Moreland said. “It’s a great way of life.”
(Editor’s note: This article is reprinted from the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s Crop Insurance In Maryland Soring 2019 newsletter.)

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